For more on my Lenten Focus, see my Ash Wednesday post. A quick summary is that I am spending Lent fasting and praying for the Persecuted Church, and I invite you to join me.
Burma (officially known as Myanmar) was ruled by an oppressive military junta for 49 years. Its economy is one of the least developed in the world, suffering from decades of mismanagement. Little wealth reaches the population. One of Burma’s major exports is heroin. In 2010, a flawed parliamentary election officially disbanded the junta but gave government positions to members of the former regime and heavily favored the military. Many of the human rights abuses perpetuated by the junta have continued under the new government. About 2 million people have fled the country, and an estimated 100,000 people remain internally displaced in the north because of armed conflict between the Burmese government and Kachin rebels. Burma has been designated a Country of Particular Concern by the USCIRF since 1999.
The Burmese government claims to support freedom of religion, but it banned independent house church activities in 2010. Religious groups face surveillance, imprisonment, discrimination, violence, destruction or desecration of property, and censorship of religious materials. The military targets Christians for forced labor, rape, intimidation and destruction of religious sites. The government also prohibits the import of Bibles in indigenous languages and retains legal authority to close unregistered Christian churches and seminaries. Christian minority groups, particularly the Karen and Chin ethnic groups, are singled out for the harshest treatment. In the last 10 years, more than 3,000 Christian villages have been burned.
- That Thein Sein, President of since 2011, will know Jesus Christ
- For children from Christian families, who face constant disadvantages in education
- That minority Christian groups such as the Chin will be kept safe from violence and ravages of war
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